(Sept. 30, 2011) – Residential developers across the country are seeking ways to engage their members and attract new ones in the midst of a prolonged uncertain and often anxious environment for the housing market. One Upstate South Carolina community has taken the bull by its horns over the past year – implementing creative programs and incentives to drive interest and activity – and, so far, the results are noteworthy and encouraging.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee, managed by Greenwood Communities and Resorts, is projected to achieve balanced budgets on its club side and within the Property Owners Association for the first time ever this year, is enjoying a steady stream of new home construction activity, and is already well ahead of its 2010 pace for closed sales.
“It is a very bright moment for The Reserve,” stated Chuck Pigg, Vice President of Greenwood Communities and Resorts and Community Manager of The Reserve at Lake Keowee. “With regular media reports about a struggling economy and a real estate market that is slowly making a comeback, The Reserve is as strong and viable a community as ever.”
Sales and Membership Momentum Fuel Start of Peak Season
Since January 2011, The Reserve has gained more than 660 new multi-generational members – extended family members of current Reserve Members - thanks to the launch of the club’s new Legacy Membership Program
. The Legacy Membership allows existing Reserve at Lake Keowee members to extend membership benefits and privileges to their adult children, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren without additional cost, confusing fine print, or complicated red tape. Through the coordinated Share the Legacy Program
, members receive special incentives on available real estate and are rewarded through their referral of new club members.
The positive impact of all of these new members on the club’s fiscal health has been swift and undeniable: “The club has seen its largest participation ever. Coupled with the strict fiscal discipline and accountability of our Club Manager, Frank Santoro, the club is projected to reach a balanced budget for the first time in its history, with no food and beverage minimums,” Pigg confirmed.
The explosion of The Reserve’s membership base, coupled with new homes popping up everywhere within the community has created momentum on the sales side. Year to date, the community has welcomed 25 new families to The Reserve and, in the past couple of months alone, has sold or placed contracts for sale on nearly a dozen premium waterfront homesites on Lake Keowee. All this, before the onset of fall and perhaps the area’s most compelling “sales tool” – the fall foliage – is an encouraging sign for what The Reserve hopes will be a landmark selling season.
Director of Sales for The Reserve Chuck Walsh explains, “A viable and financially sound community is a must for our customers and is at the top of their vetting list when searching for their next primary or second home location. Our sales executives are rapidly spreading the word that we are on firm, solid financial ground and therefore are able to mitigate buyer concerns that plague many, if not most, other communities. Evidence of a vibrant and healthy community abounds at The Reserve, and as we come into the fall, we have much to fuel a terrific selling season.”
“We owe an enormous amount of gratitude to all of our members and staff who have such a passion for this place,” stated Pigg. “As we continue to plan for the next phases of our community, our success is more assured than ever because our new and existing owners have put a stake in the ground and said, ‘We love The Reserve, and we want to stay here for a long time.’ There’s no greater affirmation than that.”
New Home Construction Abuzz
More than 190 homes are now built at The Reserve, with another 21 currently under construction and a new collection of six cottages debuting. In the past eighteen months, The Reserve at Lake Keowee has given those interested in building more convenient, affordable options for high-quality customized homes within the community: the Builder Showcase Program and the Guest House Cottages.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee’s landmark Builder Showcase Program started in October 2009 as an initiative to simplify the home-building process for new members, has completed its first four homes with another half-dozen currently under construction. The six participating Showcase Builders are themselves members of The Reserve at Lake Keowee community, giving them an added stake in quality assurance and customer service. This is perhaps the most unique aspect of the program, and for those members who take advantage of the program it is reassuring to know that their homebuilder is also their neighbor. Each Showcase Builder also participates as a member of the Guild Quality Program, an association that requires them to maintain a high standard of satisfaction polled from previous clients’ reviews.
“The builders in our Showcase Program are outstanding, reputable individuals, both in their industry and within our community. Their character coupled with good standing in the Guild Quality Program, plus the two-year warranty that comes with each home constructed through the Showcase Program, creates real value for our members and new buyers,” explains Chuck Walsh.
With 19 flexible home plans to choose from and seemingly endless customizable details, The Reserve’s builder partners streamline the process of building a home according to individual families’ needs and tastes, removing 80 to 90% of the typical pre-building process. The Reserve spotlights Showcase Builder home plans
in an approved plan book, complete with prices, features, sizes and other options, further working to ensure that the building process is straight-forward and turn-key from start to finish for the customer. Builder Showcase home plans are also accessible online at www.ReserveAtLakeKeowee.com/HomePlans
The Guest House Cottages, a collection of Mill Creek cottages averaging 1,860 square feet and starting under $500,000, were released in February 2011 to immediate interest. Within weeks, all four cottages constructed by Pyramid Construction Company had sold and building commenced. Less than six months later, the new owners are moving in, with all four cottages having been completed. On the heels of the sell-out success of the Guest House Cottages, The Reserve and Pyramid Construction have now introduced the Laurel Pond Cottages, a collection of six similarly-styled cottages, each approximately 1,800 square feet, ranging in price from $499,900 to $649,900, and located near the Guest House Cottages in the heart of The Village on serene Laurel Pond. Two floor plans are available, both featuring three spacious bedrooms and a great room showcasing authentic Post and Beam design through vaulted ceilings and window banks that let in ample natural light.
About The Reserve at Lake Keowee
Created in 2000 by Greenwood Communities and Resorts, The Reserve at Lake Keowee is an award-winning residential community that spans 3,900 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 30 miles of shoreline on Lake Keowee (one of the purest freshwater lakes in the United States), and convenient access to nationally-recognized commercial and cultural centers that include Greenville, S.C.; Asheville, N.C.; and Clemson and Furman Universities. A 200-slip Marina, Village Center, Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, and more than 1,400 acres of parks, preserves, trails, and green spaces highlight more than $100 million in completed family amenities at The Reserve. The Reserve has approximately 650 members from 30 different states, with an additional 660+ extended family members who enjoy club privileges through the multi-generational Legacy Membership program. Homesites at The Reserve start under $100,000; homes, under $500,000. To learn more, call (877) 922-5253, visit www.ReserveAtLakeKeowee.com
, or read the community’s official blog at www.LifeOnKeowee.com
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